Now, here’s something different and something I normally don’t write about, but I think it’s a pretty good subject, given the fact that some of you will soon start planning your winter holiday.
Martin Nolan from The Travel Ramble tells us why he thinks Norway is the next hot skiing destination.
There is pretty much of a prototype of a ski resort around Europe. Hotel here, spa there, après ski there and a street filled with restaurants. Go to most of the resorts and you will know that you are skiing, the snow is a dead giveaway, but the sense of the place you’re in is lost. Instead there is a watered down international feel. There are few countries and resorts where this is not the case, in fact I have a list. At the top of that list is Norway.
Norway? Skiing? I’ll never!
Yes, skiing in Norway is popular. In fact as a country it spends the most money on equipment in Europe. Although the Norwegian people are fanatical about skiing their resorts aren’t among the big players (that may be about to change with the introduction of Norwegian ski resorts by Crystal Ski).
Its biggest strength is exactly that, it isn’t overly popular. It is untouched by the normal ills of skiing in Western Europe.
The benefits of being an untouched gem
Yes, usually when a resort is busy it is a sign they are doing something right. But there are two major problems (benefits in Norway’s case) when it gets too busy:
- Overcrowded runs. When any empire expands they are met with issues. This has never been truer than in the case of skiing. Overcrowded slopes are the second biggest criticism of the more popular resorts (we’ll come onto the first next). It has the biggest affect on a person’s experience, especially when someone cuts up your line. For the biggest powder chasers/ski bums this can actually cause physical pain. Thankfully it’s not really a problem in Norway as they have such a long season. Long seasons equal more opportunities to ski. So not everybody will try to squeeze into that small window of time around Christmas and Easter.
- Lift queues. People pay to ski and in some cases they pay a lot. They do not pay to stand in long lines. In fact who does really enjoy queuing? The British invented it, the Germans do it well, but do any of them enjoy it? No. Less queues, more time carving up fresh powder – that is the Norwegian motto. Well it probably isn’t but you get the point.
Above are just added bonuses but Norway’s real charm comes from its aesthetics. It looks nothing like any other resort. The closest in appearance are some of the lesser known American resorts. But their appearance has never rang true. Rustic wood cabins with a McDonalds around the corner – doesn’t quite add up. Well, not if they are trying to give the place a feeling of remoteness anyway. For some reason our Nordic brothers don’t have this problem. Norwegians prefer it that way – more room for fresh air.
Norway is underrated for skiing and fingers crossed it stays that way.
About Martin Nolan
A former sun seeking backpacker who is now a full time ski convert. Loves all things travel and is a writer for The Travel Ramble.